Emotional Safety

We were yabbering about emotional safety in the comments to my last poast. I was saying that it made me feel emotionally unsafe to be verbally attacked by a “friend” out of the blue when I’ve done nothing but be nice to him. (It’s irrelevant whether the attack comes via phone or email or message or whatever, so the fact that I had my number available to friends is not the point.) The question arose… well, what is emotional safety then?

In Psychology Today, James D. Huysman writes:

Emotional safety comes from within us.  It is the “knowing” of what we’re feeling; the ability to be able to identify our feelings and then take the ultimate risk of feeling them. Granted, in the presence of war, childhood neglect, trauma, and abuse of all kinds, we may never have known the feeling of being safe at all.   It may be absolutely foreign to us.  And so we may believe that safety is a dream that will never come true.

So, ES has two components. One, we need to be aware of our own feelings. Two, we take the risk of expressing them. When we’re repeatedly belittled, mocked, denigrated, screamed at, etc., we might hesitate in expressing our feelings and ultimately reach a point where we shut down altogether. After SB told me I was a loathsome POS (for having procreated, since he wants the human race to die out), I felt I had better quit interacting with strangers on the intertubes. I didn’t feel emotionally safe with the idea of extending the hand of friendship again after SB’s diatribe. It wasn’t what he said (which is clearly idiotic), but the shock of someone I’d never had a cross word with suddenly going on the offense.

I’m not sure I’m over the shock several days later, though I probably will get over it at some point. I almost always bounce back clean and scrubbed shortly after getting hit with a shit shower.

Here’s another example: I feel emotionally unsafe WRT dating sites. So many men in my age group have anger issues and it’s really hard to shrug off a verbal attack to smile happily for the next dude. I can’t do it anymore. I think I’ve documented here several times about how I’ve been subject to horrible verbal abuse simply for telling a guy that I didn’t think we were a match. We can laugh about what a nutcase each one is, but taken together it’s just too much. The last several times I’ve tried to interact with someone online for dating purposes I was too paranoid and shaky even to set up a meeting.

It’s funny because I’ve weathered so many bad things this past decade and I seem like a very centered, tough person. I’ve dealt with so so much. Yet, these days I can’t handle discord. I feel like I’m 5 years old again and my parents are yelling at each other while I pretend to sleep. My whole world is cracking apart, halp halp! It really doesn’t make any sense, right? Why would some dickhead from Match dot com telling me to go fuck myself have an emotional impact? I’ll never see the guy; this has no effect on my life at all. And yet, these days, I find it terribly upsetting.

Idk. Maybe I’m turning into some ridiculously delicate flower as I head into the sunset years. Who knows. But like any rational creature I find myself avoiding stressful situations and seeking out pleasant ones. I feel no desire to overcome my fears and triumph over adversity, rah rah! No thanks. I’ll just wallow here in the sunlit garden by myself, or with the small number of peeps who have proven themselves to be emotionally safe for me.

Delicate flower2

Delicate flower

Poasting & Drinking

If you are my FB friend, you know I had a very weird experience tonight (because obviously you read all my jabberish). A while back this dude, SB, friend-req’d me because we’d been yapping about movies on a mutual friend’s poast. SB is this whiny, melodramatic guy, but no biggie, I thought ~ he had a lot of cool things to say about movies etc. I interacted with him minimally though because he seemed so unbalanced and I didn’t want to get involved in any weirdness.

Tonight I made an innocuous jokey comment about myself on one of his poasts about leaving a group and SB called me. (My phone number was available only to friends and I’ve now taken it off.) He seemed chatty at first, though depressed, but then suddenly launched into this attack against single moms. Technically I’m a single mom, but since the girls are adults and living away, I don’t normally run around labeling myself as such. But I don’t lie either and after I said, yep single mom, this lunatic began ranting about how loathsome I was to have spawned etc. It wasn’t out of character ~ SB has said on FB that he hates everyone and wishes a virus would come along to kill all humans.

It was shocking to me though to be attacked directly, over the phone. I’ve been nothing but nice to this man, in our limited interactions. His voice was slurry and he was probably drunk and/or high, but even so. Why me? Just an available target, I guess. I asked why he called just to tell me he hates me, and he had no answer. I remained calm while he spewed his hate and declared he was going to block me on Facebook. I told him to have a nice life and hung up.

SB did indeed block me, so I blocked him too. I don’t want him coming back around after he sobers up or whatever. His vitriol is not a huge deal ~ the guy is halfway across the country. I’m not going to bump into him anywhere, but damn it’s just… wtf? WTFFF??

Apparently I don’t even have to date men anymore to end up with some crazy fucking loon going off at me. I’m trying not to think it’s me, that I did something wrong. Because I didn’t. I did nothing. This is not my fault! I never flirted with him, never criticized him, never argued with him. This is not me; this is just another dude whose brain is flooded with rancid chemical soup. I just happened to be in the way when some sloshed out of his crazyhead.

So, for the first time in over five months I’m having a shot of Fireball. Oops. Had. Past tense. I hope it relaxes me enough to get some sleep. I mean, I accepted the consequences when I was being a bitch and making people upset deliberately. No problem. But I’m not used to being chosen randomly as a target for a nutball’s hate speech when I’ve done NOTHING.

It’s sobering. Or it will be, in the morning.

Bombs Away!

I finished The Slow Burn of Silence by Loreth Anne White the other day and have some things to say.

First, I’m more disappointed when a book I like annoys me than when I give up by page 10 or so. I stuck with TSBOS all the way through because I really dug the storyline and characters, but dammit why…

(Second) Why why WHY would White choose to write in “normal” third person past tense for most scenes yet inexplicably switch to first person present for the heroine’s POV? There was absolutely no reason for this. Rachel’s POV sections could easily have been written the same as the rest. It was maddening when the shifts occurred (despite being in separate scenes). Totally distracting.

(Third) Too many coinkydinks, especially those happening all at once. Just as the SHTF in one area, someone else’s wife just happens to stumble upon a pile of clues in his workshop though they’d been there for years. And the entire violent past incident/evidence/conviction that caused the whole mess was a series of flimsy coinkydinks piled atop a turtle and just… ugh. Yet, I suppose it illustrates how a person can be framed for a crime he didn’t commit if everyone involved manages to keep silent for years. Irritating regardless.

(Fourth) I was gonna say that the sex scenes were totally unrealistic, but I have been schooled on Facebook that some men are indeed capable of performing after getting beaten with a tire iron and left to burn in a fire, so nevermind.

(Fifth) BOMBING. Omg. Bombing. Early on, White uses the phrase “bombing down the mountain” to describe fast, reckless driving and I liked it. A cool, fresh usage. Wonderful! But then she used it again. And again. And again. For driving and bike riding and rain and whatever. It drove me insane. I would have given TSBOS four stars on Goodreads, but this knocked it down to three.

So here’s my rule: when you create a clever new turn of phrase, you get to use it once per story. ONCE. No exceptions. One bomb per book. That’s it.

Bombs

Romance, Realistic and Otterwise

So, I went to B&N the other day and checked out the romance novel section. As usual, the emphasis was on cowboys, dukes, and vampires. Just look at these guys ~ aren’t they to die for?

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I think I’ve made it clear how I feel about vampire romances (puke) and I have similar sentiments toward the cowboy subgenre.

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I remember a time when it was a thing to feature a Native American hero, but I don’t see much of that anymore. Often he’d be half-white, so he could float back into society and pass as an English gentleman or wotever. Probably that’s all way too racist now, so writers stay away from it.

However the duke will always be with us! Not a fat, gouty, nasty old man, but a young handsome studmuffin. Often, he’ll pose as a pirate or highwayman for some convoluted reason and end up kidnapping our heroine by mistake. But it’ll get sorted out after loads of misunderstandings, no worries. I confess that I am partial to the ducal romances.

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Hey, how’d that viscount sneak in there?

Here’s a new thing ~ the Realistic Romance section. What could that possibly mean? Well, let’s check it out…

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Ah, these would be the firemen, bikers, and billionaires. Much more realistic. I mean, vampires don’t even exist, ffs, but firemen sure do. And also 30 year old billionaires, natch. Who wouldn’t want to nab one of those ruthless dudes and his Lamborghini too? And motorcycle gang members, yummy. Just like on Sons of Anarchy, except with a happy ending.

For whatever reason, I’ve been gravitating more to mysteries lately. And poetry. But it was fun to cruise the romance aisle for old time’s sake.

Depth Perception

DP-cover

Please consider buying and reading my new book of pomes. Free on Kindle Unlimited!

It would be great to get reviews.

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Coinkydinks in Fiction

Jackpot

Not a fan of ’em. Which is why I’ve had a love/hate relationship with romance novels all along, I guess. The “plots” normally hinge on a series of ridiculous coinkydinks. In my view, the fact that the protags meet at all for the first time (cute or otterwise) is ENOUGH. Just the one. One per story. But that’s not what we get, of course, or there’d be no story. And I’ve done the same in mine too. Really you have to have a meet and meet-again (at the least). Or else what? And that doesn’t even begin to address the myriad other against-the-odds stuffs embedded throughout.

I was up early today (like crazy early) and watched a movie. I have found that if I wake in the middle of the night with a headache and go back to sleep, I will be guaranteed a migraine at 6AM, but if I get up, take aspirin, drink water or cola, I can sometimes get rid of it. Naturally I’ll be exhausted mid-afternoon, oh well. The movie I watched was In Lieu of Flowers, sort of a rom-com, but mostly about the grief process after a romantic partner has died or whatever.

The protags, Eric and Rachel, meet at a grief-support group. OK. But then it turns out Eric’s doctor is Rachel’s father. This is totally unnecessary. But even worse is when E&R encounter each other in the waiting room. Think about that. How many doctors there are and how many patients each doctor has. The odds, IN NEW YORK CITY, of you and your romantic interest having the same doc. Then the odds of you both having appts on the same day about the same time. Boggle.

Of course there’s the usual stupid thing of having people with ordinary jobs in NYC somehow managing to live in fabulous places. I suppose Rachel, a second grade teacher, has doctor-dad subsidizing her BEACH HOUSE, but we never get the scoop on Eric’s financial sitch. Whatever. It was just a fluff movie. For a supposedly broken person, Rachel always manages to look continually gorgeous and smile at every strange man, even a drunk on the subway.

I understand that everything can’t be a masterpiece. It’s fine. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. Or should I say starting them. I don’t finish most. I did get to the end of In Lieu because I had nothing else to do.

Writing fiction? Seems unfathomable to me these days, like chasing a blow-up raft that’s floated out to sea. I sort of still see it bobbing out there, but it’s so far away, and I’m tired. I write some poetry though because that’s all language and emotion. I don’t have to grind out sentences and dialog and worry about where it’s going and the point of it all.

No point.

Stripey Cookies

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I took these to a gathering last Saturday but did not eat any. The last time I ate a stripey cookie was when I was 14, a freshman in high school. My dad always had cookies in the house, and stripies were in rotation along with sugar wafers, pecan sandies, and those marshmallow chocolate thingies. That particular night in 1975 I was feeling a little sick ~ slight fever, scratchy throat. I had come home late on a Sunday night from babysitting and was hungry (most of the various families I babysat for had such shitty food I never ate any). So, I had a snack of stripey cookies and chocolate milk… then went to sleep.

I woke up Monday feeling sicker but went to school anyway. Mid-morning I ended up in the nurse’s office, vomiting repeatedly. The nurse let me place a fake call where I pretended to talk to my mother, asking her to pick me up. In reality she was 50 miles away at work. Then I walked home. Now, you could never do such a thing. Anyway, I got home and threw up a dozen more times. When my parents saw me that night, they took me to the emergency room.

That was a strange experience. I was admitted to a room and ended up staying almost a week, though idk for what. I didn’t weigh much, less than 100# ~ I was anorexic and steadily getting worse, despite the cookies, but doctors didn’t pay much attention to that back then. I vaguely recall one trying to talk to me about food, but I managed to finesse the topic and he dropped it. My official diagnosis was strep, which still makes no sense to me ~ I’ve had strep many times and it’s always accompanied by a raging sore throat, not a little scratchiness.

In any case, they let me go on Saturday… and my mom took me out for a burger and clothes shopping. I spent the rest of freshman year losing more weight and becoming antisocial and introspective. Years later, my parents said I had been hospitalized for anorexia, which makes even less sense, because no one had even mentioned it to me at the time or discussed treatment. In any case, I “cured” myself the fall of junior year because I wanted to start having friends and going to basketball games. In my mind, at the time, you couldn’t do those things and have bizarre private eating habits. But I wasn’t really cured because that doesn’t happen, even today with all the new psycho-gibberish. If you don’t die, you just somehow stumble on, upfuckedly.

But the main point here is that I can’t eat stripey cookies to this day, as much as I love other cookies. There’s just something about the stripey ones…

Dating & Religion & Cake

Bear with me here ~ I actually have a point this time.

For the last four years I’ve been intermittently dating, as you know. I’m also a Jewish atheist, as you probably also realize (I don’t think I have any Orthodox readers who are going to yell that I’m not really Jewish because yada). I think I mentioned ages ago that my “religious status” makes dating more difficult than the labyrinth it is already. One of my occasional readers commented that I might consider dating a conservative Christian, which would knock out many of my issues. That wasn’t terrible advice… but I am still single regardless.

Today I was ruminating (moo!) on all this and came up with a cake metaphor. Let’s say Judaism is a delicious cinnamon coffee cake, perfect unto itself. I have this cake and while I’m not nomming on it daily, I like knowing it’s there and maybe a few times a year I’ll eat a slice. I don’t need anything else wrt cake. I can date other Jews with the same philosophy, or maybe they have the coffee cake more often… or even never. That’s all OK. I doubt I would be interested in the daily coffee cake kind of Jew, but that hasn’t ever come up. I might be able to date a non-Jewish atheist if he doesn’t disparage the coffee cake, but this is more difficult than it may appear ~ because they tend to do the disparaging.

Christianity takes the delicious cinnamon coffee cake and adds a lot of things to it ~ frosting and flowers and sprinkles and such. That’s not a bad thing, but I don’t want it. My cake is not very recognizable under all that decoration and I prefer it in its original state, however infrequently. A Christian who has his frosting flower sprinkle cake infrequently is probably OK for me, but one who needs his FFSC on a daily or weekly basis… probably not. I can’t see that working out long-term.

Finally we have the person who says he’s a Jew but is dragging around a big elaborate frosting flower sprinkle cinnamon coffee cake. I won’t ask you to eat this, he says, but he does believe it’s the best thing ever and anyone who doesn’t have some is totally missing out. It’s hard to convey my depths of annoyance with this person ~ the J4J as I yapped about ages ago on Ultrablog. Maybe I can find that poast in the basement and lug it up here for your reading pleasure. Luckily, I rarely encounter the J4J creatures. But I did recently, which is what prompted this gibberish. Also, I’m afraid to go to sleep anymore because I always wake up with a splitting headache and it takes half a day to get rid of it, but I feel good at midnight after dozing for a couple hours on the sofa, so why not stay up and write a bunch of weird bloggery? I’m also hydrating aka having a glass of ice water so maybe that will help on my second snooze. I’m going to the doc in the morning to see if I can get an Rx to send away for a giant pile of sumatriptan as I babbled about here. So tired of the daily migraine.

Anyway, back to D&R&C. Now, don’t ask me how other religions fit into this cake metaphor because I don’t know and it doesn’t matter since that never comes up. Just go with the original cinnamon coffee cake vs the frosted-flowered-sprinkled cinnamon coffee cake, OK? Thanks.

Coffeecake

Frosted cake

See what I’m saying?

Yeah OK… I need some sleep.

A Plethora of Paulas

It’s rare I meet another Paula. In my entire life ~ maybe two or three, one last Christmas, friend of a friend. I know there are Paulas out there though. My ex-husband’s former girlfriend is a Paula, referred to as Paula 1. But there aren’t that many. Case in point, you can google Paula Costa Mesa and the first hit is my NaNoWriMo, which links here. That would be disturbing if I gaffed about suchness, but I don’t anymore.

Google your first name and city and see if anything on the first page is you.

If you look up famous Paulas you’ll get a bunch ~ the Paulas Abdul, Deen, Zahn, Poundstone, Patton, etc. There’s Paula White, a megachurch pastor in Florida who just married her third husband, former Journey rocker Jonathan Cain (married three times previously himself). It was weird to find Paula Scher, a famous graphic artist who’s done a  bunch of album covers, posters, etc., because my maiden name was Scheer.

I found Paula Quinn, successful romance novelist. And I discovered Paula Hitler, sister of. I never knew that. Interesting. To me, anyway. I guess I like that my name is a little bit unique, while not being weird. My mother had almost gone with Pamela though, which is prettier, I think.

I’m going to be honest ~ I don’t remember why I wanted to make this poastie. I know I had something in mind, something philosophical or relationshipical, and I came up wiith the title, which I thought was fun. Then I screenshotted a bunch of stuff on my phone. But I have now forgotten what the main point was, to tie it all together into a lovely poast with a point.

I do know that I was going to jabber about the fact that my email address has been mistakenly used by people who thought I was another Paula Light, so I know there’s a PL in Indiana with Dish TV and a PL in Arkansas with Allstate homeowners insurance. I’ve also been signed up for Open Table in New Orleans by a third PL (or someone) and so I get periodic restaurant recommendations, which will be useful I suppose if I ever travel to NOLA.

But I still don’t know how I had planned to weave all this into a grand statement about life or wotever. Suggestions welcome.

This will now be filed in the Pointless Poasties pile.

Various Unconnected Freedoms

I’m finally embracing my new neighborhood after a year and a half. Instead of thinking that I’m right over the line from Huntington Beach and can still do all the stuffs there, I am exploring Westside Costa Mesa. There’s a lot do do here ~ food, entertainment, shopping, pretty places to walk, etc. I’m free of the weird attachment to HB.

I’m allowing myself to say no to a lot of things lately ~ most things. I like being alone. I enjoy having free time to myself, to do anything or nothing. Mostly nothing.

I’m free of the compulsion to write. I write when I want, what I want. Mostly nothing.

I’ve let go of guilt. Guilt for not doing enough, wanting enough, being enough, conforming enough, rebelling enough. Most of the things I believe in, I do so in an inconsistent, hypocritical, half-assed way (as do most people re most things, though they won’t admit it) ~ and I’m OK with that. I don’t have any grand, all-consuming passions. And I don’t care.

I really like my job. I don’t need to be more ambitious, take classes, aim for a higher thing. It’s really OK to appreciate what you have and be grateful for it.

I threw away $80 on Match Dot Com earlier this year on a whim. I’ve deleted myself while there’s still a couple months left. I don’t care. But I occasionally go on a random date via other venues. /shrugs/

I’ve stopped believing it’s my fault my marriage failed and my other romances haven’t worked. It isn’t my fault. I don’t behave like a “psycho-magnet” as I used to say. I do nothing to cause the obnoxious behavior in other people. It’s all on them. I’ve freed myself from blame and smashed the illusion that I (little old me) somehow have the power to cause all this crap that other people do. I don’t have that power. They do what they do for their own reasons that have nothing to do with me.

I’ve quit beating myself up emotionally for not being perfect.

Free at last.

Happy 4th!

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